Diabetes is defined as “a disorder of the metabolism causing excessive thirst and the production of large amounts of urine.” It is a metabolic disease characterized by the body’s inability to properly secrete or manage insulin. This results in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Diabetes is a leading cause of death due to vascular complications attributed to the disease.
The prevalence of diabetes has increased dramatically over the past few decades and is expected to triple in the next decade. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared diabetes to be at a pandemic level. A report published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine through the National Institutes of Health states that diabetes is “a growing public health concern and a common chronic metabolic disease worldwide.”
The most common types of diabetes are type 1 (insulin dependent) and type 2 (non-insulin-dependent). According to the American Diabetes Association, the majority of diabetics suffer from Type 2 diabetes with initial symptoms emerging after age 45. Early indications of this disease are bad breath and bleeding gums.
For those in the medical and scientific field, seeing early signs of diabetes in the form of oral problems is typical even though the general public rarely associates one with the other. Periodontal disease is an inflammatory condition that can trigger inflammation elsewhere in the body. Other inflammatory diseases (such as high blood pressure, arthritis, and coronary artery disease) have been linked to gum disease by numerous research studies.
Not only is periodontal disease said to be the 6th greatest complication of diabetes, research has shown that one tends to trigger the other. Gum disease has been found to occur more frequently and with greater severity in diabetics with poor glycaemic control. Proper management of diabetes for controlled glucose levels has been shown to be helpful in preventing or treating periodontal disease.
Symptoms of gum disease include gums that bleed when brushing, frequent bad breath, gum recession that expose dark tooth root sections) and tender and swollen gums. As gum disease progresses, gums will turn red in color, pus pockets will form at the base of teeth and teeth will loosen. Eventually teeth will need removing.
While it is important for all to be aware of the signs or gum disease, diabetics, especially, should be as proactive as possible when it comes to their oral health due to their particular vulnerability to inflammation in the body. For our patients who have diabetes, we advise having a dental check-up every 3-4 months.
If you have diabetes, please arrange a periodontal examination at your earliest convenience. Gum disease will only worsen without treatment. And remember, gum disease is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss.
Delayed care often results in more treatment time and greater expense. Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles if you have questions or to begin with a free Consultation to discuss your symptoms and oral health.